Tell your Supervisors to pass the Matrix!

 

We’ve heard word from a member in Van Buren County that your Board of Supervisors will be voting on the Master Matrix on Monday, Dec. 19 at 1 pm.

In order to use the matrix, Iowa counties must pass a resolution every year and file it with the DNR between January 1 and Saturday, January 31.

The matrix is not local control, however, it allows counties to comment on factory farm permit applications with the DNR having the final say.   Counties have been able to appeal and STOP factory farm permits because they used the Matrix.  Without it, they can not file appeals on permit to the DNR.

Here’s a note from CCI member Lora Conrad on the Van Buren County meeting:

You are receiving this e-mail because I believe you care about the quality of life we have here in Van Buren County. I hope you will be interested in this and will join me at the meeting to support adoption of the master matrix on Monday, December 19th at 1:00 pm.

 

Counties that want to evaluate any proposed sites for confinement facilities that need construction permits MUST notify the DNR by January 31 each year. Last year, 88 Iowa counties filed the construction evaluation resolution, including Van Buren. Hog producers with large confinement facilities (over 2500 hogs) in counties that file the resolution must meet higher standards than sites in counties that do not adopt the matrix. Its not much–it doesn’t stop large CAFOS in most cases—but it is our only legal opportunity for input and can require practices that reduce the impact on the environment and reduce the impact on our communities. Using this matrix process, Van Buren County was able to prevent the construction of a proposed 4800 facility in the past. Because it is a flawed process, we were not able to stop the construction of a CAFO with 2499 hogs because that is currently smaller than the size that must be reviewed. This and other problems must be addressed by our legislators.

 

The Van Buren Supervisors will meet on Monday December 19th, 2011 at 1:00 PM in the Supervisors’ Room in the Court House at which time this issue is on the agenda. All three county supervisors voted for and adopted the matrix for CAFO construction evaluation for 2011. However, do not assume it will pass unless we show that we support its use.

 

Please show your support for the county to continue to adopt the master matrix and have input on site selection. ATTEND THE MEETING if you can to show that we want to keep this matrix. It won’t take long and no speeches will be needed. Just your support. Please come. As we all know, the next large hog confinement could be in our own backyard.

 

If you can not attend, please call or e-mail them . Contact information is below.

 

Mark Meek
tugboat@netins.net
319-592-3199

 

Ted Nixon, Vice Chair
tnixon@netins.net
319-397-2394

 

Marvin Philips, Chair
mmphilipsfarms@gmail.com
641-693-8721
cell 641 919-7448

 

Please tell anyone you know that might support adoption of the matrix about the meeting or forward them this e-mail as the more people that know about this the better.  I hope to see you there Monday!

 

We will post a Matrix resolution for you to take to your county supervisors very soon. Feel free to call us if you need it sooner. Stay tuned!

In the mean time, if you are in Van Buren County – please share this action alert with your friends and family!

Join up with Iowa CCI members and others in Jefferson County to stop a factory farm from expanding two operations.

A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, December 22 at 4:00 pm at the Jefferson County Courthouse.  This is a key opportunity to show strong opposition to and challenge weak spots in the construction permit before your elected County Board of Supervisors, the developer and, most times, local press.

 

Here’s the release from Jefferson County Farmers and Neighbors:

JFAN has learned that local CAFO operator Ryan Robertson applied for construction permits on November 29, 2011 to expand two existing CAFOs in northeast Jefferson County.

 

The CAFOs are located at 1031 Quince Avenue in Penn Township and 1083 Germantown Road in Walnut Township. Each CAFO presently has two buildings housing a total of 2,490 hogs at each site. The expansions would add an additional 1,200 hogs to each location and entail constructing a new confinement building at each facility. JFAN is sending notification letters to all neighbors within a two-mile radius of the CAFOs.

 

A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, December 22 at 4:00 pm at the Jefferson County Courthouse. This provides an opportunity for the public to learn about or comment on any concerns they have about the expansions.

 

At this time, the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors plans to review the Master Matrix at Monday’s supervisors meeting, which is open to the public. The meeting will take place at 9:00 am in the Supervisors Office in the Jefferson County Courthouse. JFAN will attend the meeting and obtain a copy of the Master Matrix of both facilities to review.

 

The Master Matrix is a 44-point questionnaire that evaluates how a CAFO’s siting and manure management practices impact the environment and community. Proposed facilities that would house over 2,500 hogs are required to file a Master Matrix, and they must achieve a score of 50% or higher to pass.

 

Based on the Master Matrix and public hearing comments, the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors will recommend that the DNR either approve or deny the expansions. The DNR has final authority to approve any construction permits regardless of county input and can disagree with the county’s Master Matrix evaluation. Counties that use the Master Matrix have the option to appeal a preliminary DNR permit approval to the Environmental Protection Commission if they feel a CAFO should not be built or expanded.

 

Ryan Robertson currently operates four CAFOs in Jefferson County and also works as a manure applicator. JFAN is currently reviewing any prior violations incurred by Mr. Robertson.

 

We encourage the community to attend the December 22 public hearing to learn more about these CAFOs and to voice any concerns you may have. Please contact JFAN at 209-6600 or jfan@lisco.com if you have any questions or information about these two CAFO expansions.

 

JFAN will publish this notice with updates on the Master Matrix scoring, if available, in next week’s December 14 Fairfield Weekly Reader.

 

JFAN is a nonprofit, educational foundation that works to protect the quality of life of Jefferson County. We provide community education and support to residents who oppose CAFOs in their neighborhoods.

 

Click “Like” or “Tweet” below to share this with those you know in Jefferson County!

You and I both know factory farms pollute our air and water and ruin our quality of life.

But does the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)know that?

Tell the EPA today to collect information on factory farms.

Thanks to a recent lawsuit settlement with national environmental groups, the EPA has agreed to start collecting more information about factory farms – such as where they are located, how many animals they have, and where they spread their manure.

Unlike other industries enforced under the 36 year old Clean Water Act, the factory farm industry does not have to regularly report this information – and corporate ag interests would like to keep it that way.

Help us make sure the EPA collects as much detailed information as possible! Click here to contact EPA today and tell them the real story about the impact of factory farm pollution.

EPA is taking public comments on how they collect this information until December 20. This is an important step forward in getting the EPA to crack down on factory farms and clean up our waterways.

Please click LIKE below to share this action alert with your friends!

November 14, 2011

Contact: Natalie Snyders, Environmental Justice Organizer
515.282.0484, Natalie@iowacci.org

DNR must answer EPA deadline tomorrow

 

Federal EPA has ordered Iowa DNR to provide written response to Clean Water Act investigation by tomorrow

 

Des Moines, Iowa – Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) members are calling on the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to publicly release the agency’s written response to an audit recently performed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

According to an October 28 letter from EPA to DNR, the deadline for DNR’s written response is tomorrow, November 15.

Earlier this month, top EPA officials made on-site visits to DNR field offices across the state and conducted a thorough and intensive investigation and review of DNR files, documents, and records, a result of a Notice of Intent to Sue filed against the EPA in August by Iowa CCI members, the Environmental Integrity Project, and the Iowa chapter of the Sierra Club for the DNR’s failure to administer Clean Water Act permitting and enforcement programs for factory farm polluters.

In June, the DNR’s Environmental Protection Commission voted to scrap tough new rules designed to bring Iowa’s factory farm enforcement program into compliance with the Clean Water Act after nearly 40 years of noncompliance.

Iowa CCI members will attend tomorrow’s Environmental Protection Commission meeting at 10am at the DNR Air Quality Control Building, 7900 Hickman Road, to demand copies of DNR’s written response.

There have been more than 750 manure spills since 1995, including more than two dozen since Governor Terry Branstad was elected to office last November, and more than nine in the last few months. Iowa has more than 572 polluted waterways.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is a group of everyday people who talk, act and get things done on issues that matter most. With thousands of members from all walks of life — urban and rural, black and white, immigrants and lifelong Iowans — CCI has been tackling tough issues and getting things done for more than 35 years.

For more information about Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, visit www.iowacci.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  November 10, 2011

Contact: Natalie Snyders, Environmental Justice Organizer 515.282.0484, Natalie @ iowacci.org

CCI Members to Rastetter: We’ll be back

On Thursday, the Iowa Ethics and Disclosure Board voted to scrap members’ August 16 conflict of interest ethics complaint against Rastetter

 

Des Moines, Iowa –  On Thursday, the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board voted to put factory farm polluters before environmental protections and dismiss an ethics complaint filed by members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) against Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) member Brent Rastetter.

CCI members say Rastetter’s private role as the owner and president of the multi-million dollar factory farm construction company Quality Ag, Inc, creates a clear conflict of interest with his public duty as an EPC commissioner to stand up for clean air and water and crack down on factory farm polluters.

Iowa CCI members filed the ethics complaint after Rastetter’s June 21 vote to scrap a Clean Water Act rulemaking package that would have brought Iowa into compliance with federal law after nearly 40 years of noncompliance. The new rule, if passed, would have directly impacted Rastetter’s business.

An official copy of the complaint can be viewed here.

“Brent Rastetter’s service on the EPC is like the fox guarding the chicken coop, and doesn’t pass the common-sense test.” Said CCI member and family farmer Larry Ginter from Rhodes, IA, “The Campaign and Ethics Disclosure Board just gave good government a black eye.”

Iowa Code 68B.2A, “Prohibited outside employment and activities — conflicts of interest” states:

Any person who serves or is employed by the state or a political subdivision of the state shall not engage in…outside employment or an activity that is subject to the official control, inspection, review , audit, or enforcement authority of the person, during the performance of the person’s duties of office or employment.

“It is the mission of the EPC and DNR to protect our environment, and we will continue to push EPC commissioners and DNR staff to stand up for clean air and water, and to crack down on factory farm polluters” Said Barb Kalbach, a nurse & 4th generation family farmer from Dexter. “And whether it is rulemaking or cracking down on factory farm polluters, we will be there to make sure that DNR & EPC are taking a tough stand. If they don’t, we will continue to pursue every option available to stand up for the environment and everyday Iowans.”

There have been more than 750 manure spills since 1995, including more than two dozen since Governor Terry Branstad was elected to office last November. Iowa has more than 572 polluted waterways.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is a group of everyday people who talk, act and get things done on issues that matter most. With thousands of members from all walks of life — urban and rural, black and white, immigrants and lifelong Iowans — CCI has been tackling tough issues and getting things done for more than 35 years.

For more information about Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, visit www.iowacci.org

 

Iowa Campaign Ethics & Disclosure Board to meet on our conflict of interest complaint

 

Brent Rastetter is the owner CEO of Quality Ag, Inc- a factory farm construction firm that rakes in $5-10 million a year in profits building factory farms around the state.

Rastetter is also Governor Terry Branstad’s newest appointee to the Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) – the Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) citizen oversight board.

EPC commissioners have a duty to stand up for clean air and water and crack down on factory farm polluters. Having Rastetter sit on the EPC diminishes public trust in the EPC and DNR and creates the appearance of unethical conduct.

That’s why in August, CCI members filed an ethics complaint with the Iowa Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board against commissioner Rastetter. As citizens, we shouldn’t have to wonder if he’s protecting our environment or his own bottom line.

Tomorrow (November 10, 2011), the Iowa Ethics Board will make a decision on our complaint and whether to move forward with an investigation on Rastetter.

Take Action today!

Join us for the meeting Thursday – meet us at 10:30 am at the CCI office (2001 Forest Ave, Des Moines) and we will head down to the meeting at Noon (Iowa Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board office, 510 East 12th, Suite 1A, Des Moines) They will have time for public comments at the meeting.

Make a comment to Ethics Board director Megan Tooker-she will make a recommendation to the board about our complaint. Click here to send her a message.

Thanks for all that you do. We’ll keep you updated as this moves forward.